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Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

SKOREA-MERS VIRUS -- The death toll continued to mount in South Korea's MERS outbreak even as schools reopen and people recover from the virus. Nineteen people have died in the largest outbreak of the disease outside the Middle East, with three more dying since late Monday, the Health Ministry said. More than 150 have been infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and nearly 5,600 have been quarantined. SENT: 330 words.

BANGLADESH-WAR CRIMES -- Bangladesh's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for a top leader of an Islamist party for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the country's independence war against Pakistan in 1971. SENT: 480 words.

CHINA-SOUTH CHINA SEA -- China will complete land reclamation projects on its disputed South China Sea territorial claims as planned within days, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday, in an apparent bid to reassure its neighbors over moves seen as sharpening tensions in the strategically vital region. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 560 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-MUSLIM REBELS -- SULTAN KUDARAT, Philippines -- The largest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines handed over dozens of assault weapons Tuesday in a symbolic gesture to reinforce a peace pact stalled by a public outcry over the recent killings of dozens of anti-terror police commandos in a fierce battle with insurgents. SENT: 580 words.

UNITED STATES-ASIA-TRADE. Staunch ally Singapore says that U.S. credibility in Asia is on the line amid uncertainty over its participation in a 12-nation free trade pact. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 400 words.

ASIA & INTERNATIONAL

UNITED STATES-LIBYA AIRSTRIKES - Pentagon officials say they believe they hit their target -- the one-eyed, al-Qaida-linked commander who led a deadly attack in Algeria in 2013. But uncertainty still surrounds the U.S. airstrike in eastern Libya and whether Mokhtar Belmokhtar was actually among the dead. Sarah El Deeb and Maggie Michael. SENT: 1,160 words, photos.

ISLAMIC STATE - U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters capture large sections of a strategic town on the Syria-Turkish border from the Islamic State group, dealing the biggest setback yet to the militants, who lose a key supply line for their self-proclaimed capital. By Zeina Karam. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

SOUTH AFRICA-SUDANESE PRESIDENT - Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir arrives in Khartoum to cheers of supporters after leaving South Africa, where a court had ordered his arrest on war crimes charges. By Mohamed Osman. SENT: 450 words, photos.

VATICAN-ENCYCLICAL - Nix the oil, the coal: Pope's stance urges action to fight 'mostly' man-made climate change. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 490 words, photos.

PRESIDENTIAL BID-BUSH - Jeb Bush launches his bid for the Republican presidential nomination amid a diverse student body at a Miami college, symbolic of the country the former Florida governor seeks to lead. By Steve Peoples and Brendan Farrington. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.

CONGRESS-TRADE - House Republican leaders weigh a handful of options -- all with long odds -- to revive legislation giving President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority. By Charles Babington. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6:30 p.m., photos.

ECONOMY-RATES - Despite higher interest rates in the United States and Europe, the Federal Reserve isn't likely to raise them when it meets this week, and even when it does, they won't likely rise high enough enough to derail the economic recovery. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 870 words, photo.

COMET LANDING - The Philae spacecraft has been in touch with Earth from a comet for the second time since waking up, though it delivered less data than on its first contact. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 350 words, photo.

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HOW TO REACH US: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. Questions and story requests are welcome.

The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org. The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941. Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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Updated : 2021-09-23 11:19 GMT+08:00